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 September 30, 2021

Social Media Butterflies, Beware: Studies Show How Sharing Online is Harmful for Teens

Teenager upset about her weight sitting on floor next to scale & tape measure

Is social media harmful to teenagers?

According to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal, Facebook studies over the past three years have shown how Instagram affects teenagers, specifically teenage girls.

Researchers claim that 32% of teen girls said that Instagram made them feel worse if they were already having negative thoughts about their own bodies.

And just because it’s happening most commonly with girls doesn’t mean boys aren’t experiencing harm as well.

What parents should know about social media.

The evolution of social media has spread so fast that it’s part of the daily routine for many teenagers and young adults. And while platforms like Facebook and Instagram have revolutionized the way we connect and communicate with each other in positive ways, it also has its detriments, as these Facebook studies show.

The effects of social media on children and teens.

Many teen girls report negative self-image impacts after looking at Instagram. There is also reason to believe the harmful effects of social media can start in younger kids, too.

For example, many notice that pre-teens who excessively use social media have difficulty communicating, don’t make eye contact and have trouble paying attention to their real life. Eventually, kids who overuse social media can experience low self-esteem and become isolated, depressed, and anxious.

Common signs that your child is negatively affected by social media.

If you notice your child is on their phone using social media excessively, pay attention to their attitudes and behaviors. If you observe any of the following, consider setting boundaries with their screen time or seek professional help:

  • Anxious behavior
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Communication issues
  • Isolation
  • Negative self-talk

When can social media problems become a legal issue?

With the explosion of social media comes mental health issues and potential legal issues. Some common legal concerns in social media include:

  • Defamation: When someone posts a false statement about another person.
  • Cyberbullying: This can include harassment, stalking, sending threats, or posting harmful, negative photos or other content about someone.
  • Privacy: Privacy laws have changed over the years to help keep platforms secure for users and less problematic for platforms.
  • Copyright: When users post content that they don’t own.

Talk to your provider lawyer to understand your social media rights.

Social media is nothing new anymore, but as it grows and adapts, we need to understand our rights as users. Talk to your provider attorney to understand how you can protect yourself and your kids from the potentially negative impact it can have them.

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”) provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to LegalShield members through membership-based participation. Neither LegalShield nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation or advice. This is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. If you are a LegalShield member, please contact your provider law firm for legal advice or assistance.


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